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Hey World Cup Fever!

June 18, 2010

Creepy masks are creepy

Any non-American here will tell you, Americans just don’t care about soccer. For me, that’s pretty much true…I don’t think I’d watched an entire game before coming here andwatching  three. Being in a country that really gets excited for the World Cup means you can’t escape the contagious nature of team spirit. Although the US team has more than its share of supporters here in Seoul, many foreigners (Americans, English, Kiwis, Irish etc) or rather, just a ton of expats support Team Korea here.

Some stuff

Last night, I went out to Jonggak (near City Hall) to watch the game with some fellow teachers who were mostly decked out in Team Korea paraphenalia – bandanas, soccer whistle necklaces, jerseys, temporary tattoos, light up devil horns (the support team is called the Red Devils) and noisemakers of all kinds. Unfortunately, after Argentina scored its 3rd goals against Korea’s 1, most people lost heart and just kinda made their way back home.

Regardless of the outcome, I’ve found the national team spirit here really something to behold. The massive crowds that continually flood the streets of Itaewon, for example, thin to those of a ghost town during a game. It’s even startlingly quiet, with long bouts of silence puntuated with the occasional roaring from the bars. Every store has something in the window…usually a face of one of the players or a tee shirt with  the chant “Dae Han Min Guk” (Republic of Korea) on it.

So, yeah, I will be going to the match tonight to support the US against Slovenia and probably share a bar with dozens of others shaking the American flag and chanting “FREEDOM” and what not.

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